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Cheap but powerful option for a go-cart motor? Answered

I'm pretty keen to build a motorized go-cart with my friend, but we both have run out of chores to do for money, too young to get a job and are on a pretty low budget. We've already got a go-cart that doesn't have a motor, but is well-built (welded frame) and has a proper steering mechanism (not just rope attached to the front axle).

Two questions:
Would it be easier to make an entirely new go-cart or to adapt the go cart we've got now to suit the engine we get?
What's a cheap option for a motor that has some torque and can go around 40-50km/h? I'm talking cheap like under $100NZ (around 70$US I think?)

EDIT: PLEASE DON'T SAY BUY A LAWNMOWER ENGINE UNLESS YOU CAN GIVE ME A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF HOW TO USE A LAWNMOWER ENGINE ON A GO-CART - Lawnmower engines have vertical driveshafts, and you can't just tip them sideways. A V-belt is not ideal.


Well I seem to recall my brother using an old (but working) lawn mower motor for his go-cart. You can find them at flea markets, garage sales, some thrift type stores etc, and shouldn't cost you very much at all. Just look for something that works well, that you can handle taking apart and modifying for your current go-cart. The motors on lawn mowers are fairly powerful and should reach a good speed as long as your cart isn't too heavy.

No they are all horozontal shaft mowers..... Have you looked at them. they are the old fasionned type mower. They will work without modifactation

also they already have a clutch

You're welcome. I glad you found something that may work. Good luck with it! :)

Here's a YouTube video showing a rather fast go-cart that uses twin chainsaw motors. They don't explain the how to's, but you may draw some inspiration from their build.

If you want to go with a specific go-cart motor, there's an ehow video that gives some tips in deciding what motor to select.

From one of the other links I provided is a page discussing motors for go-carts and they suggest a "garden tiller" motor as they are horizontal mounted.

The last option I would suggest is going with a motorcycle of moped engine. You should be able to modify it for your existing cart.

Craigs list and junkyards can sell working mowers cheap.

I would look for an engine from an old rototller these tend to have larger engines than lawn mowers and they also have a horizontal shaft which will be easier to adapt to your frame. Also tillers are one of those things that people buy because they seem like a good idea but then they don't work as well as they anticipated and the people sell them at garage sales for a little bit of nothing.

Good Luck

Its probally easyer too adapt the frame you have but it is hard to tell without pictures. If you go to a second handstore or a lawnmower shop you can get somthing decent for $15(NZD) ( have picked up a few) I live in NZ too so if you tell me what city u are in i might be able to give you a heads up on where you can go.

You may need to keep your eye out for a while. you might wantto checkout trademe. for lawnmowers.

dependin on power you want to look at these mowers




or at least thet type of mower